20 de dezembro de 2017

Nothing is lost from the garbage: everything is transformed in energy

Brazil opens its eyes for the potential generated by biomass, which will receive 26 billion dollars till 2040


The world is passing by a large and quick transformation, transferring high investments for renewable technologies and escaping from pollutant sources of energy. The Energy Outlook Report produced by Bloomberg shows that the area of energy generated from biomass in Brazil will receive US$ 26 billion in investments till 2040. This is attracting the attention from investors of the energy industry.

Biomass plants are benefited by simple environmental licensing processes, plenty of fuel in Brazil and possibility of coming as a by-product of other activities, in addition to easy location near the largest centers of consumption, reducing transmission costs.

Currently, power generation plants from biomass have a total of 14.3 GW installed in the country, according to EPE. The Plano Decenal de Expansão de Energia (PDE – Ten-year Plan of Energy Increase) for 2024 projects an increase of this source, which will reach an installed capacity of 18 GW in December, 2024 and indicates that a wide potential of innovation is available.

Initially, sugar cane was used to produce power to fulfill the necessities of the producing units. But with the increase of the energetic efficiency of the industry, power surplus passed to be sold, increasing the importance of its use in the energy matrix of the country.

Since 2016, biomass became again the second most important source of generation of Brazil in the Oferta Interna de Energia Elétrica (OIEE – Internal Offer of Electric Energy), when a level of 8.8 percent was achieved, overpassing the 8.1 percent of natural gas, according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME). From a generation total of 54 TWh from biomass in 2016, sugar cane bagasse and straw contributed with 36 TWh, 67 percent of power generation. According to the MME, Brazil closed 2016 with a total of 82.7 percent of renewable sources in the Internal Offer of Electric Energy, above the 75.5 percent from 2015.

The research carried out by IEA Bioenergy Task 40 – bioenergy specialized division of the International Energy Association (IEA) indicates that Brazil is the country that uses more biomass for power production, corresponding to16 percent of the world use in the area.

Next are USA (9%) and Germany (7%). The 15 top countries of this list correspond to 65% of the global use of biomass in the energy matrix. Currently, biomass represents approximately 10 percent of the global power production. Ethanol is the main bio-fuel in Brazil and United States. In Europe, biodiesel leads the market of liquid bio-fuels.

The combined capacity of Brazilian ethanol plants was of approximately 43 billion liters per year. Sugar cane is the main input for ethanol production. Significant quantities of Brazilian ethanol were exported to USA, South Korea and Japan since 2004.

Investments for new plants in Brazil are being reduced, at the same time that importations from USA are increasing. While 430 plants are operating in Brazil, there are more than 200 plants for ethanol production in the USA. But American plants are quite larger.

Another important component in power production is the charcoal. Brazil is its higher producer. Just in 2010, 6.3 million tons of charcoal were produced in the country, what corresponds to 14 percent of the total world production. More than 80 percent of this total is used by the industrial area.

The use of biomass for power production purposes is increasing in the whole world. A significant number of new large plants not only for processing and refining biomass but also for transporting energy (bio-fuels) and for converting biomass in heat and energy are being built all over the world.